GT: Sport, the latest installment in the super realistic racing sim franchise, is being used by a UK police force to hone the skills of their specialist drivers. Sony have partnered up with Lincolnshire Police Force to demonstrate how Gran Turismo: Sport on the PS4 is so accurate that playing the game could serve as practice for driving at high speeds.
To do this, they got the officers to perform a benchmark lap around Silverstone race course in real racing cars, before practicing the same track playing GT: Sport. After the practice, they got the police to race Silverstone in real life again - shaving up to 5.7 seconds from their original lap times (a significant difference when racing at high speeds!)
The police played GT: Sport using both advanced driving wheel set-ups and in VR, intending to create the most accurate representation of driving the cars in real life. The lifelike visuals combined with an impressive physics engine helped to break the boundary between game and reality for the drivers, and improved their skills measurably.
This experiment with Lincolnshire Police Force not only demonstrates the technical wizardly of Gran Turismo: Sport, but has interesting implications for the gaming industry as a whole. As physics and graphics engines get more realistic, we could see simulations developed by games companies get more and more use in training people for real life jobs. I certainly feel more than qualified to drive my daily train into work after experiencing the almost weirdly realistic simulation of Train Simulator 2017! Although I'm not so sure about the accuracy of Surgeon Simulator...I'll get back to you on that one.
Gamification is a big theme in the gaming industry right now, where developers are looking for ways to combine reality and entertainment: encouraging players to improve themselves in meaningful ways by embracing gaming. This will do a lot to further increase the mainstream appeal of gaming, in turn increasing the amount of money flowing into the industry and helping to develop more games we love to play. We could be seeing the start of some huge growth in the industry driven by sectors that would have nothing to do with gaming just a few years ago.
If nothing else, the news that racing in GT: Sport could help to improve our real life driving skills will make me feel less guilty about playing the game for hours once it releases on October 17th!
(Sources: The Telegraph)